Cynthia M. Kuhn, Ph.D.

Cynthia M. Kuhn, Ph.D. Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Duke University School of Medicine
C151 LSRC
Box 3813
Durham, NC 27710

Phone: 919-684-8828
E-mail:

Research Interests

The primary interest of this laboratory is to understand the biologic factors that increase sensitivity to drug abuse and depression in vulnerable populations. Specifically, we are interested in mechanisms responsible for the developmental and sex differences in monoamine neurotransmitter systems. One important current focus is studying the neural mechanisms that mediate sex differences in behavioral responses to addictive drugs. The second is understanding the neural and endocrine changes during adolescence that influence sensitivity to drugs of abuse at this critical developmental stage. This laboratory utilizes a multidisciplinary approach that includes biochemical assessment of neurotransmitter release using leading edge technologies like fast scan cyclic voltammetry and receptor activation, anatomical evaluation of monoamine neuron structure and co-expression of behaviorally-relevant molecules, use of in vitro model systems to assess gonadal steroid hormone action and behavioral/physiologic assessments of monoamine neuronal function.

Representative Publications

Johnson M, Day A, Ho CC, Walker QD, Francis R and Kuhn, CM. Oestrogen receptors enhance dopamine neurone survival in rat midbrain. J. Neuroendocrinology 2010 Apr;22(4):226-37. PMC3019761

Walker QD, Morris SE, Arrant AE, Nagel JM, Parylak S, Zhou G, Caster JM, Kuhn C Dopamine uptake inhibitors but not dopamine releasers induce greater increases in motor behavior and extracellular dopamine in adolescent than adult male rats. J. Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2010 Oct;335(1):124-32. Epub 2010 Jul 6. PMC2957786

Schramm-Sapyta N, DiFeliceantonio A, Foscue E, Glowacz S, Haseeb N, Wang N, Zhou C, Kuhn C. Aversive Effects of Ethanol in Adolescent vs. Adult Rats: Potential Causes and Implication for Future Drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2010 Dec;34(12):2061-9. PMC2988872

Schramm-Sapyta N, Cauley M, Glowacz S, Kristen S, Levin E and Kuhn C. Role of individual and developmental differences in voluntary cocaine intake in rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2011 Jun;215(3):493-504. Epub 2011 Feb 24 PMC3187717

Walker QD, Johnson ML, Day AE, Arrant AE, Caste JM and Kuhn CM. Individual Differences in Psychostimulant Responses of Female Rats are Associated with Ovarian Hormones and Dopamine Neuroanatomy. Neuropharmacology. In press. 2012


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